To commemorate the centennial of naval aviation, Plane & Pilot Publisher Mike McMann and I journeyed to Naval Air Station Lemoore. We spent our day with strike-fighter squadron VFA-122, at the controls of an F/A-18 simulator, on a hangar tour and shadowing an LSO during landing practice for carrier qualification. Visit www.planeandpilotmag.com/video-gallery.html to watch video from the sim as we fly under San Diego’s Coronado Bridge, shoot down bad guys, fly formation with good guys and land on an aircraft carrier—just like Maverick (sort of)!
Another celebration in 2011 is Cirrus Aircraft’s 10 years of the SR22. Accordingly, we’ve picked our 10 favorite SR22s, having looked for (and found) creative and inspiring Cirrus owners. There’s Anisa Shahin, whose SR22 features a feminine design of purple swirls. Stuart and Tracey Smith flew their SR22 from California to Haiti to deliver supplies to earthquake victims last year. And the brand-new, one-of-a-kind 5000th Cirrus is a knockout! The asymmetrical paint scheme on the exterior uses glossy black paint, and the sports-car-like interior features sunburst yellow accents, a color that has never before been approved on the Cirrus due to its composite construction.
One of our Top 10 SR22s featured an Aspen Avionics retrofit glass panel. If you own an older plane, you can add significant new capability and safety by replacing older instruments with new equipment. Contributor John Ruley presents a buyers’ guide to panel-mount avionics, from GPS units to engine monitors.
Improving your panel is one part of increasing safety in the airplane. Another is understanding risk management. Air show superstar Patty Wagstaff, who also flies fighting fires for the California Department of Forestry, addresses the issue of risk management and examines why smart and well-trained pilots still sometimes find themselves in perilous situations. Patty shares five rules for flying that she has adapted from the world of cave diving, a sport that relies heavily on risk management.
Also this month, we talk to aircraft manufacturers to find out what’s new in the area of single-pilot light jets and turboprop aircraft. Plane & Pilot Turbine Editor Cyrus Sigari sees renewed activity and reports a dynamic turbine market right now, and founder of the TBM and Citation owners groups, John Hayes, gives an update on each program, with expected delivery dates and prices, as well as confirmation of performance and specifications.
On the other end of the general-aviation spectrum, LSA Editor James Lawrence takes the latest iteration of the Remos GX, the GXNXT, for a spin. Its new and redesigned instrument panel improves forward visibility as well as leg room, and features Dynon and Garmin avionics. Thanks to easy and forgiving handling characteristics, the GXNXT is one of James’ favorites to fly.
Air show performer Rob Holland’s new favorite aircraft is the MXS-RH from MX Aircraft; it’s no coincidence that “RH” are his initials. The MXS-RH is a redesign of the MXS and incorporates Rob’s ideas on refining the tail to improve pitch and yaw authority. Contributor Scott Slocum talks with Rob about the result: a fast, highly maneuverable hardcore aerobatic aircraft with impressive control responsiveness. Scott filmed some amazing air-to-air video of Rob that includes tumbles, inverted low passes and maneuverability demonstrations. The exclusive footage can be viewed at www.planeandpilotmag.com.